Five Things We Learned: …and the Flames got higher

Guildford Flames are creeping up the table and on the verge of joining the title crash (PHOTO: Panthers Images)

Time for the final word on the weekend as we share what we picked up from the weekend’s action and we start in Surrey where, again, it’s all going a bit under the radar

1.    Guildford are aiming high

After weeks of kicking around in the bottom half of the table, Guildford have started to pick up the form that sees them looking up at the teams in the top four positions.

An impressive 20 points in their last 15 games – making them one of the form teams – not to mention just four losses in their last 19 games in all competitions and we’re seeing the Flames creep up on everyone.

Once they take on Nottingham Panthers in the Challenge Cup this week, they go to Glasgow Clan on Saturday and a team just above them in the standings.  This could be the weekend Paul Dixon’s side could officially join the title race.

Dundee Stars have hit another slump in form, but how will coach Omar Pacha turn it around? (PHOTO: Helen Brabon)

2.    Dundee need to reset again

A month ago, Dundee Stars embarked on a five-game unbeaten streak after a run of one win in nine, with coach Omar Pacha attributing the upturn in form as he and his team “pressed the reset button.”

Going into Wednesday’s Challenge Cup second leg at Glasgow Clan, with the tie finely poised at 1-1, it’ll be interesting to see if they feel the need to do the same again.

It’s four consecutive defeats for them over the last couple of weeks, with the last three all coming at home so, with the big game coming up against a team they’ve done well against, will Omar feel the need to revisit the exercise that brought them some short-term success?

Telford are leading the way in the NIHL National League (PHOTO: Steve Brodie)

3.    Tigers show gutsy win to stay ahead of the pack

We’ve said often enough that the NIHL National League race is a fascinating one and that proved the case again as leaders Telford Tigers dug deep to get something from the weekend.

You could call it a surprise loss to Milton Keynes on Saturday as they went down 5-2 to the improving Lightning, but they held their nerve to concede a late equaliser to Peterborough Phantoms then take the game on penalty shots.

It’s going to be a long arduous journey to go on and claim the title, but the character shown perhaps put them in a better position than others.

Murrayfield Racers goalie Craig Douglas had quite the weekend (PHOTO: Ferguson Photography)

4.    Douglas’ hand in Racers success

Murrayfield Racers swept into another cup final as they defeated Aberdeen Lynx 5-0 in the semi final second leg of the Stuart Robertson Cup to book their place, where they’ll meet Dundee Comets.

But shutout hero Craig Douglas was made of stronger stuff than others when it was reported he was in hospital on Friday night, the night before the game, having taken an allergic reaction to antibiotics he’d been taking for a chest infection.

Next thing, 24 hours later, he’s blanking the Lynx to help Racers into a cup final.  It’s no surprise he didn’t feature in their 8-3 SNL win over Belfast Giants.  Well deserved, we say.

Not to say we told you so about Coventry Blaze last week, but… (PHOTO: Derek Black)

5.    We were right about Coventry…kind of

In last week’s Monday After blog, we wrote that, after a run of defeats, we hoped that Coventry Blaze would turn it around because it seems a team’s form seems to change one way or the other if we talk them up or down.

And, in a way, it proved to be the case as the Blaze ended their six-game winless run with victory at Dundee Stars on Sunday to show there was life there.

Sure, they had to suffer a loss to Nottingham Panthers on Saturday first, but it showed again that once you focus on the one club and their form, guaranteed it delivers the opposite result the next weekend.  At least for us anyway.

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